Customer Reviews for

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

It's working for me

I read this book in late December just before the New Year and decide it was going to be my New Year's resolution. I just graduated college 'at 138 pounds' and I want to get back to my high school weight '128 when I left high school, now I'm shooting for lower so I can ...
I read this book in late December just before the New Year and decide it was going to be my New Year's resolution. I just graduated college 'at 138 pounds' and I want to get back to my high school weight '128 when I left high school, now I'm shooting for lower so I can wear a bikini on my vacation' and so far I've lost a total of 7 pounds since January 1st. I realize this isn't very fast but I'm calling it my lifestyle change. I drink tons of water, make my own yogurt and even tried making her baguettes. I still eat meals every night with my family and that includes steak and potatoes, that includes shepard pie. I'm eating much of the same food I was before but I'm also eating smarter which is the quintessential thing you get from this book. I highly recommend her book to you. I never have done other diets, but this isn't a diet. I had a Lindt chocolate truffle the other day, just one, but it hit the spot. I'm finding that I can't eat some of the things I used to enjoy, they're simply too sweet and once you realize how savory some things can be you'll realize that her book will help you. She doesn't 'bash' Americans, what she points out is something that anyone with eyes can see. She points out that how we're eating is leading to the problem 'duh, I know' but more importantly that we've forgotten how to enjoy food without gorging ourselves. Thinking of food as a sinful pleasure is part of the problem she says, and I fully agree. The other day I was craving a cinnamon bun, so I made one, my mom told me I'd blown my diet now. I quoted the book, 'Oscar Wilde says the only way to beat temptation is to give into it.' Well, I gave into my craving and I'm still losing weight. This book is about an attitude adjustment towards food. I've done it and it's working, I'm thrilled that my skinny pants are loose and I'm hoping that when I go back to school and visit for my friend's birthday in April that I'll have reached my goal weight.

posted by Anonymous on January 19, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Nationality or....Wealth?

Married to a French man, I lived in France for many years and could relate to some of what she says...the French, on average, do walk more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables. No secret that such things will keep you leaner! But to me, much of what s...
Married to a French man, I lived in France for many years and could relate to some of what she says...the French, on average, do walk more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and vegetables. No secret that such things will keep you leaner! But to me, much of what she described had more to do with being part of a priveleged upper class... 'nannies and cooks and 'good wine' with every meal, etc.' than being French. There are plenty of 'metro-boulot-dodo' 'average working class' French that eat fast food and frozen food, shop at mega-marts twice a month for packaged food, and spend too many of their non-working hours between traffic jams and daycare to have time for sitting down to eat a half a banana with a knife and fork and napkin. S'il vous plait, let's be serious! Besides, some of her recipes were just plain wierd. Very NOT French, I think.

posted by Anonymous on April 15, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    A refreshing take on weight loss...

    This was the best 'diet' advice I have read... Everyone I see putting efforts and money into low carb diets should take time out to read this book. I love how it empasizes healthy natural eating (in smaller portions) and enjoying every bite! This book made me evaluate my own eating habits and appreciate the French lifestyle! A+

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2005

    Stood the test of time

    The trick to loosing weight is not in fads and pills, but in common sense and tried-and-true tips refined by history and culture. This book will launch you on a lifetime of healthy living, highten your sense of appreciation for good food, and turn you into an avid lover of your body. You need not be fat to read this book. It is great for just keeping your slim figure and knowing how your body will react to the things you do and eat and how to avoid the bad results. The best part is you won't be starving yourself... you will instead be inspired and have the knowledge you need to start a lifetime of healthy living. All nutritionists need to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2005

    Just what we needed

    Some people are upset because they feel the author is 'condescending' or 'snobby' towards the American way of life. The only thing she really attacked was the way in which the majority of Americans eat. In my opinion she was right on target. Some people may not like this book it may hit some sore spots in reminding us of many good habits that we as a people have lost. Once again, the author is not trying to offend she is simply trying to share her secrets for a better life with the rest of the world. I would look at her and this book as a good friend not afraid to tell you the truth no matter how much it may sting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Simple Guide to Life!

    This book is not just about weight loss - it is a guide to living and enjoying life in proper balance. Overindulging in food, tv, or anything is not conducive to enjoyment, and this book helps remind that moderation is the secret to pleasure! Men should read this book too!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005

    MISLEADING and INCOMPLETE

    What is not said in this book is that in France we have a habit of eating fresh, unprocessed food, there are less additives and chemicals in them. When I go back home, I find that everything tastes lovely, has savor, is delicate on the palate. A simple tomato salad and slices of mozarella with baguette in any Cafe will make you salivate and reveal each savor in a way that I do not find here in the US where even organic food is pretty tasteless. So, of course, you are going to need less process, less spices, less fill up, so to speak.It is misleading to try and convince americans that the recipe for being slim is just in the french way of enjoying !Many books have been written on this subject, I am surprised that this one is successful. Being on Oprah is not a guarantee of authenticity, or is it? I agree with the previous remarks : the condescending overtone is annoying!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    An Epiphany!

    I loved this book. Although it is common sense, it really struck me. Three meals a day of fresh quality food, with little snacking. That's the ticket! We can compare this lifestyle to the 50's in the USA. Three squares a day shared with family, and of course more physical activity. I do live in Florida, so fresh produce is available all the time. I really don't know why some reviewers were so critical. You have to modify and be flexible. I don't have creme fraiche, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book. No, I couldn't find dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, but I found one with 60 percent. It's an attitude, and a wonderful lifestyle to adopt. So what you don't have open air markets, you can still adopt the lifestyle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2005

    Very healthy

    French Women Don't Get Fat is a revealing book about the French food culture. one gets to know of the variety of healthy diets around.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2005

    food for thought

    I enjoyed reading French Women. I started it in the hospital after having my second child. It does read like a novel, which makes it even more interesting. The author did not say anything new, however she made me rethink food. Why fill up on food that is overprocessed and tasteless. I use to go to COSTCO and load up on all sorts of meat and freeze it, I would buy all sorts of canned and frozen veggies. The changes I made are simple, but I feel better about myself- buy fresh fruits and veggies that are in season, buy meat for the week, and use fresh herbs. Making sure to eat three meals a day, drink tons of water. I keep a pretty glass pitcher on my counter with lemon slices in it. It makes the water more inviting. My Colombian relatives are all thin and in great shape. They eat and live the way the French do. Everything in moderation and take time to enjoy the meals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2005

    French Women DO Get Fat

    After all, the author did! This book is full of everything we already know. She hasn't told us anything that authors before her haven't said again and again and again. We need to practice what we already know! I'm sorry I wasted my time and money on this one.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2005

    Makes sense to me

    I just read this book, and I really enjoyed it. It is simply a list of tips and tricks on the ¿how to¿ of getting your body moving and eating less. We have all heard it, but have we all done it? Apparently not. I have tried numerous ways of losing weight..all fairly nutritious and seemingly doable: Weight Watchers, South Beach, Ediets, Somersizing (Suzanne Somer¿s food combining methods) etc. I always lose 5-15 lbs, but gain some back. So what is the problem? 1)Regular, simple exercise. I am a single parent with limited income and a full time job, so this has been a challenge. 2)Food lists that match my likes/budget/time. I enjoy food, and love to cook but many eating plans advocate low fat, light, or fat free foods. YUCK. I¿d rather have small amounts of tasteful whole foods. I was so happy to see the apple tart recipe to get you through some sweet cravings that actually uses real butter and sugar! I already eat lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains, but I also eat lots of processed sweets and snacks. You can take the suggestions to fit your lifestyle. We are so used to rigid diet plans that we must have it laid out for us in minute detail or we can¿t do it. For example, living in MN, I don¿t have open air farmer¿s markets all year round, but I can certainly go in the summer on occasion, and in the meantime try different foods at the supermarket. I am already looking forward to homegrown tomatoes! They are the best! Small changes are the key. I also decided to walk 30 minutes during my 60 minute lunch and walk to my car for another 15 minute walk at the end of the day ¿ because that is truly something I can do on a regular basis and for free! This book may not help everybody, (especially if you have serious weight issues) but if you are like I am, not moving at all, eat fairly healthy already but just need to fine tune your eating habits, you might be able to glean some helpful hints to budge that scale down ¿ for good. I didn¿t particularly enjoy watching my toddler stuff food in his mouth and swallow without a lot of chewing and wonder where he learned that¿until I realized probably from watching me. I know I want my children to learn how to be active in daily life, how to savor and enjoy food, to eat healthy and well¿why don¿t we want to learn to do this for ourselves?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2005

    Worth reading because of interesting perspective

    As a person who has lost a lot of weight, more than once, I always find it useful to read the vaious in vogue diet books. This one was a nice reminder of the fact that you can eat and love all sorts of foods in reasonable quantities and still lose weight. The emphasis on enjoyment is a valuable contribution that people often forget. Sometimes I think that this type of strategy is really the best for everyday people who just don't have the energy to do everything strict diets ask. Strong recommendation because it expands thinking with respect to dieting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Great Book - True Principles

    Having lived in another country prior to the U.S., I do understand the author's first weight-gain experience. In my freshman year, I successfully added 15 pounds. I do think it's the result of the sedentary lifestyle in the U.S. (office jobs where you sit for 9 hours or more a day), the large portions and the highly processed foods. While some of us may not be able to afford the costs of organic foods or have the luxury of farmers markets, there are many principles in this book that you can apply to your life: 1. Drink more water, 2. Move more 3. Control your portion size 4. Eat more vegetables and fruits. I do believe it's beneficial to record one's eating habits as the author mentions, because you may be amazed by the many 'offenders' that creep into your diet. The author also implies that we are the ones that have control over what we eat - it would benefit us all if we exercise that self-control more regularly, and we will feel empowered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2005

    A good read, only if you live in the city with wealth

    I gave this book 2 stars because how disappointing it was for the majority of people. We all do not have all the money to select from 'farmers markets'. We all can not walk everywhere as the author suggests unless we have the convenience of living and working in the city. The typical French pattern of American bashing seems to come out in this book as well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    C'est Magnifique!

    I thoroughly enjoyed Mireille Guiliano's observations regarding the differential lifestyle choices between the French and American. Having had several wonderful opportunities to travel extensively through France, I have to admit that some French women actually do get fat. C'est dommage!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2005

    Quit your whining

    The peevish complaints are way out of hand, especially avidly reading mimi, with her excessive exclamation points. Yes this book is mainly directed at people who need to lose up to 30 lbs. (If you are a candidate for gastric bypass, perhaps try something else first.) But in principle, anyone who follows what the author says can continue losing weight as long as she likes. That's because this is NOT A DIET, which are, as the author states, temporary remedies that can't be sustained indefinitely. As to the put down of things American, we are so arrogant about knowing what is right for the whole world, but if somebody else says that maybe our relation to food and the things we eat should be reconsidered, that person is branded an enemy combatant. Nowhere does the book imply there are markets on every corner. Only that with a little extra effort, virtually anyone anywhere can track down better food stuffs than are sold at the typical supermarket. As to the author's being rich, she's a CEO, so she probably is. But again, nothing she proposes is out of reach, except for those people dependent on surplus government cheese. She simply says spend a little more and reap the benefit. As to Valrhona and some other suggestions, hasn't mimi discovered that virtually any of these products can be bought on line? It's time to stop making defensive excuses for our bad eating habits.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    A Bit Disappointing

    This book is a refreshing change from fad dieting and some easy changes to one's lifestyle that anyone can make. I agree with the writer who said this book will work better for someone who does not have a great amount of weight to lose; which is probably why I liked it. I could identify with the woman in the book who was an ex-smoker, especially her breakfast habit, and Mireille's suggestion for a change was simple and something I could follow. She also gave some practical ways to get excercise without having to spend hours in a gym. However as I read on I was disappointed that she did not suggest alternatives for those of us who do have open markets on every street corner! As I continued to read,I started to feel a bit annoyed at her constant 'put down' of anything American.Having had friends from Europe marvel at our 'supermarkets' I get the feeling she is over glamourizing the quality of what is available in Europe. At least to the ordinary citizen! It is obvious that she is wealthy and therefore can afford to find nothing but the best,regardless of cost. (If you go to her website you will see what I mean). I feel if she truly wanted to help American women learn to eat in the manner she does she would give some good (American) alternatives to Valhorona Chocolate (found in NYC in the USA but not many other places),Creme Fraiche etc! I got the feeling she feels if it isn't European,preferably French it wasn't worth having! As I read on I became increasingly annoyed at her attitude that seems to me typical of the French towards Americans. I gave the book 3 stars only because I think I can apply some of the ideas to lose the few pounds I need to. I would not recommend the book to someone who needs to really lose weight or for reading enjoyment unless you enjoy the constant put down of American products and our lifestyle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    Easy, Common Sense Ideas for Healthy Eating, But...

    I read an article about the author and the principles of this book in a high-end shelter magazine in December 2004. It sounded interesting so I began to follow the ideas outlined in the article even before the book was released. I later purchased the book and was, and continue to be, surprised, at how easy the changes have been, how enjoyable eating is for me now that I can give myself permission to actually enjoy eating, and how much more fulfilled I feel eating a smaller amount of food. Despite the author's assertation that the eating plan may not be suitable for someone needing to lose over 30 pounds, I have lost 20 pounds since December and feel that this is a lifestyle I can not only live with, but one that actually enhances my quality of life. My one caveat is that I do agree in some ways with the previous reviewer's observations. In the beginning of the book the French Woman vs. American Women comparisons seemed good natured and well-intentioned, but by the end I, too, started to feel a little brow-beaten simply for being American and therefore for having some (gasp!) American tendencies. Very few compliments are paid to the nature of American women (although surely there are some!), while the criticisms are many. The author does rely quite a bit on ingredients that are sometimes difficult, and usually costly to come by, at least here. In California, it was possible to get fresh fruits and vegetables year-round and healthy markets were very accessible; finding creme freche wasn't a problem. I now reside in a rural community which, although only 85 miles NW of NYC, might as well be Mars for all the access we have to unusual ingredients. The same can be said for produce; bountiful in the summer, pathetic in the winter. In any case, I have been able to adapt many of the principles outlined in the book in a way that has been successful to me. My advice to the author; don't look a gift horse in the mouth. We American women are your market, and although we appreciate the advice, I would suggest you offer it in a more complementary way. We may be sweaty, athletic, over-indulgers(!), but we're also fun, free-spirited, and most importantly, open-minded. Can you imagne how the French women would react were we to preach our lifestyle philosophy to them? I would bet that would go over like a lead balloon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    Exactly what I was looking for

    I liked it. Something to get my mind on the right track, which is the most important start. Not for everyone, but perfect for some. A diet book... no, not really. The people with over 30 lbs to lose seem to dislike the book because there is no magic potion. Some people are lazy and will be happy with nothing short of a miracle pill. Hate to be blunt, but it's true. The book never claims to be a diet. It just explains how French women keep slim~ you either choose to live like they do or not. You don't really have to buy all your food at an open air market, it's just a suggestion to add to the pleasure of picking fresh foods to cook. Any grocery store will be fine. The main message in the book is just to stop eating so dang much. To me though, the message was more inspiring than just 'Quit eating so much.' She makes it an art, and somehow glamorous. Appreciate what we have, don't overindulge. It's not rocket science. No matter how much you have to lose, this will definitely help you. If you are 100 lbs overweight, sure it'll take longer... what do you expect? I was skinny (about 105) all of my life until I got married and moved away. I slipped big time, and I wasn't sure why, until now. While reading the book I realized that everything it suggested was actually the way I USED to live.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2005

    Such a disappointment!

    My purpose for purchasing this book was for my daughter who had twins two years ago and could not lose her excess weight. My belief that this book might actually be a viable solution arose because my artist friend travels to Southern France every Spring, eats sumptuous meals prepared by chefs at their chateau, yet returns home weighing the same or a little less. My friend told me the secret was walking every day, which I'm now inclined to believe is the true secret. No matter where you live, women whose main means of transportation comes via legs/feet, always tend to be leaner with excellent body tone. Look at the calves of 80 year old New York City women. Amazing! Still, we all should notice that even French women get rotund tummies as they age, no matter how great their legs look. My daughter felt the book was condescending to Americans and that the author used every opportunity to display her disdain for American culture. My daughter suggested the book might be a helpful only to 'slightly' overweight people who live within walking range of numerous Farmer's Markets and who can afford expensive foods. She passed the book to a friend, who read a few pages and threw it in the trash. Her friend then shared a copy of 'South Beach Diet' and my daughter is now losing weight. I've never been more than 2 pounds overweight in my life and feel that the simple secret for weight loss is self control. Eat healthier and exercise.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    Mme. Guiliano lives her philosophy.

    Having known Mme. Guiliano for several years through the beverage industry, I was delighted to see her on television the other evening, discussing her new book. I can vouch that she exemplifies her philosophy that the good things in life are to be embraced, but with affection, not ravenousness. I have never seen her without her positive attitude, and her joyous approach to living. The French (and, in fact, European) approach to food and drink, has always been mine. I was raised in a country enviornment, where it was expected that one would dine not only for sustenance, but, also, for pleasure; yet, it was expected that one would tend to one's health and appearance too. That upbringing has helped me, now fifty-seven years old, maintain my weight and health regardless of how little formal exercize I have engaged in. Enjoying a great variety of foods in moderation, the habits of a brisk daily walk, taking the stairs when possible, and, in general, eschewing a sedentary life-style, have served me well. I found her book readable, practical, and graceful. I think it will encourage many people to rethink what it means to 'diet'.

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